Rookie Linebacker, Chris Borland, Retires Over Fear of Brain Trauma
Chris Borland, a promising rookie linebacker with the San Francisco 49ers, retired after one year of a four-year contact because the possibility of brain disease wasn’t “worth the risk.” (Full story 1; story and video 2)
There is a growing body of evidence that repeated head trauma can lead to neurological problems and premature death. A NewsBit on this blog reported that a University of Tulsa study revealed changes to the brains of football players, even in the absence of a documented concussion. Last season, an Ohio State University football player apparently committed suicide. Concussions may have had a role in his death. The National Football League (NFL), the premier professional football organization in the United States, is in the middle of a multimillion-dollar lawsuit over concussions and neurological problems.
Chris Borland gave careful thought to…
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In January of 2014 I recognized that Pat would need to go to long term care, that I would be unable to look after him at home. It was a devastating realization, and one I had to come to on my own, over time and through experience, and it was for me the end of the only thing that had carried me through day by day, the end of the work to get Pat home. That part was over and what remained was to learn to prepare myself to place him in a facility and learn to live with the horrible feeling of separation and the knowledge that…
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When I first started sharing this story, I was honest in writing that it wasn’t “going to be a story about how faith and positive thinking kept me from losing hope…”, that it’s “a real story with raw feelings and emotions, and pain that never goes away. It’s a story of lost hope, lost faith, and the lonely existence left at the end of this path of TBI – Traumatic Brain Injury.”
I don’t remember ever not believing in God. I was raised in a Catholic home, we went to church regularly, and this continued into my adulthood, marriage and the parenting of our children. Pat was also Catholic and we were both involved in our parish for many years. I studied and taught adult catechism and helped organize programs designed to help others find God and their place in the Catholic Church. I didn’t understand how people could not…
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Once the lithium started to work for Pat and he was more alert again, there were new issues that forced me to face the possibility of him not being accepted at a facility in Mayerthorpe, meaning that we wouldn’t even be in the same town, let alone the same house. For a while it looked like he might have to go to a specialized facility in Edmonton, leaving me wondering about how I would stay involved in his life without picking mine up completely and moving away from family and friends to a city where I couldn’t afford to live. It would have been the ultimate blow at the end of all this, and the idea of it crushed me further.
From my Journal, March 7, 2014:
For a week or so it looked like things were going to level out for you and you started sleeping well every night. …
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I’ve been away from work for a month due to some medical issues resulting from the brain injury.
Last week, I had to turn in a letter from my doctor that I couldn’t work.
The HR “specialist” took the opportunity to chew my ass. Short version: she asked in the past for notes from my doctor. To anyone in mental health or healthcare, “notes” means charting. I sent in several months worth of medical charting, not realizing she had no right to actual charts. She never corrected that misunderstanding and continued to ask for notes. She never explained exactly what a “note” needed to contain. She never put anything in writing. the letters from my doctor early on just put down hours I could work, not specific duties. She never told me that wasn’t sufficient, just kept asking for “notes.”
So, part of the lecture was that I didn’t have…
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